Interview with Sarah Abo, Today, Nine

Sarah Abo
Artificial intelligence regulations

SARAH ABO: Calls are increasing for governments around the world to take action on artificial intelligence. Experts warning the technology could have unintended and even catastrophic consequences. Today, Australia is taking its first steps towards further regulation, ensuring the growth of AI is safe and responsible. For more, we're joined by Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic in Canberra. 
Ed, thanks so much for your time. Now, everyone's talking about AI. Every industry is impacted by it, so I guess the government had to respond. What action will you be taking?

ED HUSIC, MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY AND SCIENCE: Absolutely, and good morning to you. I think people realise that AI has become a big part of their lives in ways they do know or may not be aware. But I think the recent developments have made people start to think as well about whether or not the technology is getting ahead of itself. 

We've got a range of different laws at the moment that do have some sort of ability to deal with things. But I think given what we've seen over the last few months, we do need to do a refresher, though. Reform those laws and make sure people have the confidence that the risks that they're concerned about can be managed. And that's what we're trying to do with the discussion paper that we've put out today, eight weeks, where we'll call people to put their views forward so we can think about where we go next.

SARAH ABO: Is that too slow a process? I mean, obviously, AI really is outpacing our reaction time here. This is something we need to get on top of right now.

ED HUSIC: Absolutely. But we also need to do it in a way, Sarah, that gets the balance right. Because AI, as much as people have got and been focussed on the risks, it does do a lot of good, particularly in areas like, for example, medicine, health, being able to either discover new medicines or help in diagnosis. We want to be able to get the best out of technology. We want the technology to work for us, not the other way around. And so, making sure that we've got a good legal response is really important. 

But eight weeks, we've deliberately kept it tight in that way. We want to be able to start seeing those reforms. And the other thing I just want to emphasise quickly is it's not just in this arena that we're doing work. Across government, all portfolios are thinking about the impact of AI and you will see over the coming weeks, different responses being shaped up and put out there again to give people the confidence and assurance that we're managing those risks.

SARAH ABO: Okay, so a little while then, before I'm talking to an AI version of the Minister for Science, right?

ED HUSIC: Absolutely. No deepfake.

SARAH ABO: All right, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.